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Meta to appeal over tough EU curbs on digital giants

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Facebook owner Meta said on Wednesday that it would appeal the inclusion of its Messenger and Marketplace products in tough curbs on digital giants that the EU unveiled in September.

Brussels is working through a dense legislative agenda to build tougher regulation of big tech, arguing it needs to protect European consumers online and to encourage competition in an industry dominated by US giants.

In early September, it announced a list of 22 companies—including Meta, Apple and TikTok parent ByteDance—that will face tough new curbs under the application of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The law will force the largest firms to change their ways under a checklist of dos and don'ts and, regulators hope, create a fairer market.

On Wednesday, Meta said it would appeal the inclusion of Messenger and Marketplace under the legislation.

"This seeks clarification on specific points of law regarding the designations of Messenger and Marketplace under the DMA," said a Meta spokesperson.

"It does not alter or detract from our firm commitment to complying with the DMA, and we will continue to work constructively with the European Commission to prepare for compliance".

The European Commission did not immediately comment on the move when asked by AFP.

In September, the European Commission, the EU's powerful antitrust body, named 22 "core platform" services belonging to five US tech behemoths identified as "gatekeepers"—Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft—and China's ByteDance.

The companies involved must fully comply with the DMA by March 6, 2024.

The "gatekeeper" status applies when a service has more than 45 million monthly active users and more than 10,000 yearly active business users established in the EU.

One of the DMA's main aims is to stop larger players crushing the progression of smaller companies that threaten to become rivals by gobbling them up through takeovers.

The EU has led the way globally for taking on big tech.

The DMA, alongside its sister law, the Digital Services Act (DSA), gives the commission sharper teeth against tech behemoths that critics say have for too long been given free rein to act to the detriment of users.

© 2023 AFP

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